Characterising and mapping of wind transported sediment associated with opencast gypsum mining
Thesis (MSc (Earth Sciences))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.
This study aims to provide a practical tool for the prediction and management of dust generated by the activities of an opencast mining operation. The study was conducted on opencast gypsum mines in the semi-arid environment of the Bushmanland, 90 km north of Loeriesfontein in the Northern Cape Province from April 2000 to October 2007. The vertical and horizontal components of wind transported sediment were sampled and a dust settling model was designed to predict the settling pattern of dust generated by opencast mining operations. The model was applied to soil samples collected from an area surrounding a mine. The influence sphere of the mining operation was predicted by the application of the model and then mapped. Once the influence sphere is mapped, the dust influence can be managed with the aid of an onsite weather station. By further applying the predictions based on climatic data, the influence sphere can be modelled. The model is not only applicable to the planning phase of an opencast mine to plan the position of dust sensitive areas like the living quarters, office buildings and workshops etc., but also to indicate the historical impact that a mining operation had once a quarry on an active mine is worked out and rehabilitated or a mine is closed. The model application can also aid with the explanation and visual or graphic representation of the predicted impact of planned mining operations on communities or neighbouring activities to them and thus avoid later penalties.